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2.6 B face Zika risk

MOSCOW (PNA) – At least 2.6 billion people – more than a third of the planet’s inhabitants – live in parts of Africa and the Asia-Pacific region exposed to the potential spread of the Zika virus, a medical journal said in study.

The study, published by the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal on Thursday, reveals that the majority of people exposed to potential contamination in these two regions live in five countries – India, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

According to the study, India tops the list of countries with most people risking to be infected by Zika, with some 1.2 billion people exposed to the virus in the country. China comes second, with 242 million people living in zones of potential contamination. In Indonesia, 197 million people risk catching Zika, while 70 million people live in high-risk zones in the Philippines and 59 million in Thailand.

The study explains that these people live in areas with climatic conditions favorable for mosquitoes that carry the virus. The Zika virus, spread by the Aedes mosquito, is especially dangerous for pregnant women as their babies may be born with neurological disorders, including microcephaly. The current Zika outbreak began in Brazil in the spring of 2015.